Moisturizers 101: How They Work & How to Pick the Best One

Lavelier moisturizers

Moisturizers 101: How They Work & How to Pick the Best One

Moisturizers are a part of daily skin maintenance and are considered skin basics, alongside cleansers and toners. It’s something that everyone and their mom have. We’re willing to bet there’s at least one tub of moisturizer on your skincare shelf right now, regardless of whether you use it or not.

But even if moisturizers are a common fixture on most bathroom shelves, not everyone understands what a moisturizer is really for. Sure, it’s to make your skin feel soft and look glowy, but what does it actually do for your skin’s overall health?

Today, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about moisturizers and how they work. We’ll also teach you the different ways to pick the best one for your skin type and concerns, plus a few moisturizer recommendations based on our bestselling creams.

What is a Moisturizer?


A facial moisturizer is a cream or lotion designed to keep your skin hydrated. Many people think that it’s the moisturizer itself that adds hydration to the skin, but that’s a misconception.

While a cream can, in fact, add extra moisture to your skin, the main role of a moisturizer is to lock in hydration from your previous skincare steps, like toners and serums.

Its purpose is to seal that hydrating goodness in your skin to prevent trans-epidermal water loss (aka your products evaporating throughout the day instead of keeping your skin feeling soft and supple).

By doing that, moisturizers help your skin retain more water, keeping it feeling smooth and quenched and never dehydrated. That makes moisturizing a non-negotiable step in any dry skin gal’s daily beauty routine.

Moisturizers Offer Tons of Benefits for the Skin

Apart from preventing dryness for dry skin, moisturizers also offer tons of additional (maybe surprising) benefits for the skin. Here are just a few of them:

  • They can minimize the look of wrinkles: As you get older, your skin gets thinner and drier, making it less firm and more prone to fine lines and wrinkles. The more you moisturize, the easier it is to conceal and reduce the harsh look of those lines, making your skin appear smoother, softer, and more youthful.
  • They can keep the appearance of acne at bay: When you skip moisturizer, your skin is left dry and parched. That sends your oil glands into overdrive, creating more sebum to compensate for the dryness. This can lead to too much oil on your skin, which then clogs your pores and creates pimples and blackheads. By moisturizing, you can keep your skin feeling balanced, therefore reducing the appearance of breakouts.
  • They soothe the feeling of itchy, irritated skin: If you have sensitive skin or suffer from eczema or psoriasis, you usually experience redness and inflammation from flare-ups. A high-quality moisturizer can help soothe the feeling of this irritation, leaving your skin looking less itchy, red, and angry.
  • They make it easier to apply makeup: Moisturizers make the skin feel velvety and silky, creating a smooth layer for your foundation and concealer to go on top of. That means your skin won’t look cakey even when you pack makeup on it. Instead, it can look more natural and flawless!

Three Things to Look for in a Moisturizer

Woman opening moisturizers

It can be challenging to pick out the right ingredients for the moisturizer you want. Some people will recommend one with coconut oil, shea butter, argan oil, hyaluronic acid, and so many other ingredients that it will be hard to take note of all of them.

Realistically, you won’t even find a moisturizer with just the ingredients you had in mind. So, when looking for the perfect moisturizer, be flexible. Instead of looking for uber-specific oils and extracts, make sure the cream you’re eyeing has humectants, emollients, and occlusives instead.

These three types of ingredients work together to give you the maximum benefit out of your moisturizers. As long as you have these three types of ingredients, your cream will work gloriously.

  1. Humectants: These hydrating ingredients get moisture from the air and pull them into your skin to keep it plump and moist. They’re technically the things in moisturizers that add hydration and quench your skin’s thirst. Some examples are hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and aloe vera.
  2. Emollients: These agents help improve the texture of your complexion, making it feel smoother so you don’t have to tolerate that rough texture that comes with skin dehydration. Ceramides, fatty alcohols, and some light plant oils are excellent emollients.
  3. Occlusives: These oil-based ingredients are the ones responsible for sealing the hydration into your skin. They include the likes of petrolatum, lanolin, coconut oil, shea butter, and more.

Of course, most moisturizers will also have additional skin-loving ingredients to their list. Expect to see humectants, emollients, and occlusives combined with specialty ingredients, like vitamins A and C, green tea, coral seaweed, and more.

Three Types of Everyday Moisturizers

One easy way to pick out a moisturizer is by considering what time of the day you want to use it.

Are you looking for a moisturizer that will work in the daytime under your makeup? Or perhaps a night cream that leaves your skin looking softer and more hydrated when you wake up? There are different moisturizers for each of those times of the day.

Here are the three kinds of moisturizers you should look for, depending on when you’re thinking of using one:

A Simple, Smoothing Day Cream

Marine Deep Moisturizer

A day moisturizer needs to be hydrating enough to keep the skin feeling comfortable and soft throughout the day. However, it should be lightweight so that it never makes your skin look like a greasy hotdog while you’re out for work or with friends.

Your goal here isn’t deep hydration. You just want the right amount of moisture and smoothness to ensure that your skin is glowy and your makeup looks snatched all day.

One day cream we can’t recommend enough is the Lavelier Marine Deep Moisturizer. There are tons of superstar ingredients found in this cream that make it the perfect daytime moisturizer. These include safflower seed oil, chamomile, aloe extracts, and vitamins A and E.

There’s a lot this cream can do for your skin, from adding a healthy, dewy look to your complexion to soothing the feeling of inflamed skin. That’s why it’s such a fan favorite among Lavelier’s loyal customers!

A Daytime Moisturizer with SPF

Lavelier skincare summer products

Sun damage is a threat to anyone who heads out during the day. The sun’s harsh UV rays can give you not just sunburn, but also wrinkles and hyperpigmentation if you go out without protection.

That’s why many people opt for a moisturizer with SPF in the formula. Aside from adding an extra layer of protection from the sun, SPF also improves the texture and pigmentation of the complexion, making it look smoother and clearer.

If you’re looking for a day moisturizer with SPF, you’ll enjoy the Lavelier Divine Day Defense SPF 30. It keeps your skin feeling safer against sun damage while leaving it soft and radiant-looking. This is thanks to ingredients such as coral seaweed extracts, aloe vera, vitamin A, and more. It’s a fantastic option if you want to reduce the appearance of sun damage on your skin.

A Rich, Luxurious Night Cream

Lavelier cream

Lastly, we have night creams. Your skin does all of its self-repairing and recovering in the wee hours of the night, so it’s the best time to feed it the vitamins and botanicals it needs to feel softer, smoother, and more moisturized when you get up the next day.

Because of that, night creams tend to be heavier and more indulgent. Look for richer, creamier textures when looking for night moisturizers.

Check out the Lavelier Marine Evening Repair Cream for an ultra-luxe night moisturizer. This one is rich in emollients and occlusives, like shea butter, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, and safflower seed oil, to give your skin that intense moisture as you snooze.

It also contains aloe, hyaluronic acid, chamomile extracts, and vitamin A to firm up the appearance of your skin, making it look taut, plump, and more youthful over time.

Choosing a Moisturizer Based on Your Skin Type

HydroTherm Completion Creme moisturizer

Aside from selecting a moisturizer based on when you plan on using it, you should also choose one based on your specific skin type.

If you have oily skin, it’s best to avoid moisturizers that are bursting at the seams with heavy oils and butters. These can end up making you oilier and clogging your pores. Instead, go for something lightweight that will still give your skin enough moisture.

However, rich creams are perfect for those with dry and sensitive skin that need thick layers of hydration to soothe their tired, irritated complexion.

Just make sure to assess your skin and what it needs. This way, you’ll be able to pinpoint how thick or how weightless your moisturizer needs to be.

For example, if your skin is extremely dry, you need something that will give you copious amounts of hydration. That means keeping an eye out for hardworking humectants, like hyaluronic acid. The Lavelier HydroTherm Completion Crème is one that has this ultra-hydrating humectant.

The cream contains hyaluronic acid, coconut extracts, and cucumber extracts to provide deep hydration to the skin, leaving it bouncy-looking with a fresh dewiness and glow! It’s perfect for anyone with parched skin.

Choosing a Moisturizer Based on the Skin Problems You’re Facing

Lavelier moisturizers

You can also try choosing a moisturizer based on your most pressing skin concerns. Everyone has their own personal skin problems they’re facing. Sometimes, all you need is a moisturizer that contains all the right ingredients to target those visible problems and combat them once and for all.

If you’re having trouble with acne, go for soothing ingredients that can calm the look of breakouts, like green tea or salicylic acid. And if you’re having issues with visible dark spots thanks to post-acne hyperpigmentation, look for formulas with ingredients that can help fade the appearance of those, like vitamin C and niacinamide.

And if you’re struggling with aging skin with fine lines and wrinkles popping up from time to time, you want to go for something like the Lavelier Moisture Allure Cream. This rich moisturizer has ingredients like coral seaweed, green tea, and vitamin A — all of which are known to minimize the appearance of wrinkles to make your skin look younger.

By the Way — a Moisturizer Isn’t Just for the Face!

Collagen cream

Dryness, roughness, and wrinkles don’t just occur on the face. They can also happen from the neck down. So, you should also try to moisturize your skin with body care products whenever you can.

For example, lots of people experience tech neck — or sagging in the chin and neck — as they age. It can be frustrating to deal with. However, luckily, there are products that can help improve the look of tech neck.

One of these is the Lavelier Coralline Collagen Firming Neck Cream, a moisturizer designed specifically to combat the look of tech neck. This moisturizer contains vitamins and botanical extracts known to reduce the look of wrinkling and sagging in the skin. Some of the standout ingredients in this formula include vitamins A, C, and E, as well as hyaluronic acid, ginseng extract, and coral seaweed.

A lot of people also experience dryness below the neck, usually around the elbows and knees. For that, we highly recommend the Lavelier Seascape Body Butter. The creamy shea butter and coral seaweed in it help leave your arms and legs feeling velvety soft and smooth, making them touchable and radiant.


Shopping for moisturizers can be super overwhelming because there are so many brilliant options out there. But don’t worry — there are many ways to shop for one. You can pick one based on your skin type, the most frustrating skin problems you face, and even the time of the day you need to use it.

Make sure your moisturizer is formulated with ingredients and botanicals that can hydrate and smoothen the feel of your skin. This should ideally be a winning combination of humectants, emollients, and occlusives. That way, you can get the most out of your moisturizer and reap all its wonderful skin benefits.

Remember: everyone needs a moisturizer, no matter your skin type. To make sure you have one that’s of top-notch quality, choose from the luxurious moisturizing products we mentioned above. We promise you won’t regret it!

Click here to browse more moisturizing products from the Lavelier online shop.

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